By Mike on Friday, May 18, 2012, 19:49 - Permalink
Our rabbit and guinea pigs love dandelions, especially the flowers - and I've always known they could be eaten by humans, just never really quite got around to trying them.
Well, some folks on the Straight Dope Message Board were talking about eating the flowers fried like breaded mushrooms - that sounded pretty good, so I went off and picked a few
I didn't pick many, as I wasn't sure how good this was going to be - and they were picked late in the day, so they were starting to close up - not exactly ideal. Anyway...
Also in there are some flowers from wild three-cornered leeks that are growing in the woods near my house.
I made a quick batter from an egg, an ounce or so of plain flour and a pinch of curry powder.
I washed the flowers carefully and coated them in the batter.
Then I shallow fried them, for about three minutes in total, turning once in the middle of cooking.
They came out looking like this. Crispy and fluffy.
I sprinkled them with a little salt and we all tried some. Everybody agreed they were really very good. A definite thumbs up for this wild food.
Other Uses For Dandelions
The young leaves can be eaten in salads. I've made coffee substitute from the roasted roots - and that was pretty good - tolerably similar to coffee, but with dark, syrupy licorice tones - which made it good in its own right.
When I was washing and preparing the flowers, they kept reminding me of something, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was...
- then, suddenly, realisation dawned.
Collectively, the flowers look like drowned wasps. That's what it was.
What Do They Taste Like?
Of course, the batter contributes quite a lot to the experience of eating dandelions, but the flavours of the flower do come subtly through.
They taste slightly nutty, faintly of honey, with a pleasant green vegetable tang, but also a hint of spicy aromatic freshness - like pine resin, perhaps.
These are inadequate descriptions. Summary: fried dandelion flowers in batter are very nice to eat - well worth trying.
Next time I'll pick some larger flowers, and get them in the middle of the day when they're wide open - as well as tasting just great, they should look a bit nicer fried, if they retain their circular shape.
I'll also try a different batter - maybe just beer and flour with no egg - the egg batter is nice enough, but does not stay crispy for long after cooking